It’s been a week since my husband and I started the Whole30 diet, and aside from a few accidental hiccups, I’m happy to say we’ve been 100% compliant! But It hasn’t been easy. I heard the first ten days are the hardest, and I now see why! In this post, I’ll share the pros and cons of the Whole30 Diet we experienced during our first week. Overall, we’re both happy to be trying this new way of eating, and we’ll benefit from the healthy habits we gain long after the diet ends.
If you aren’t familiar with the Whole30 Diet, my post, Everything You Need to Know to Start the Whole30 Diet will get you up to speed.
Let’s get the hiccups out of the way. 1) We ate bacon and sausage not realizing the ingredients for both include sugar. It turns out, almost all bacon and sausage contain sugar. 2) We used protein powder to make breakfast smoothies which also has a form of sugar. What we are learning, is that almost every food includes sugar!
The rule is generally if you cheat, you start over at from Day 1. But our hiccups were not intentional, so we are thinking we are ok with continuing with week two instead of starting over.
A Few Notes About Week 1
Not everybody will react the same way to the Whole30 Diet. My husband and I had different side effects during week 1.
My favorite thing about this challenge is that it is a relatively simple concept that doesn’t require a membership or particular book. The idea is to bring our bodies back to the way humans were meant to eat thousands of years ago. But it does take some research online and diligent reading of food labels.
One thing I should note for week one: we didn’t make many “recipes.” Other than making homemade chicken noodle soup (found in my 6 Kid-Friendly Recipes post), we generally ate whole foods with salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar and olive/avocado oil as seasonings. Due to the busy week, I didn’t have time to experiment with the new recipes I had researched and included in my previous post. Also, the diet encourages we keep things simple in the beginning. In the coming weeks, I’ll experiment with some Whole30 compliant recipes and share what I find.
The Pros and Cons of the Whole30 Diet: Week 1
Dave (my husband)
- He was hungry only a few times during the past seven days (and only when there was poor meal planning during work)
- By the 6th day, he felt more energy
- Heartburn went away
- Since he loves meat and potatoes, he is happy to eat these every day
- Generally easy to follow the diet
- Many of his weight loss surgery patients are on this diet, so it’s good for him to experience
- Fruit allowed in moderation (good fuel before exercise)
- Forces us to take a new look at food
- Getting smarter about how much sugar and preservatives are in most foods
- Breaking alcohol and sugar habits (I was drinking a glass or 2 a day and dessert after dinner)
- Losing weight (not sure how much yet since we are advised not to go on the scale)
- No meal schedule (I love that we are to eat when we are hungry with no limit)
- No counting calories (It’s so time-consuming to write down what we eat – hooray I don’t have to do this!)
- Decreased cravings
- Miss carbs and dairy
- Less choice of food
- Meals not as emotionally satisfying
- Miss milk in coffee
- Can’t go out to eat
- Food is on his mind more than before the diet
- My tongue felt weird the first four days, but that may have been due to burning it from green tea
- A little dizzy
- Decreased energy – Didn’t feel like exercising. When I did, I felt weak
- Woke up sluggish – Usually, I jump out of bed to do my morning 3-mile cardio meditation. I skipped most days last week.
- Dry mouth and chapped lips – I read this is due to lack of starchy vegetables, but I need to confirm this
- Cranky (my husband’s observation – I didn’t notice)
- Hard to find low-fat protein options other than chicken and fish (which I don’t love)
- Hard to be social on Whole30 for fear of cheating – I’m going to be hiding out at home for 30 days
- I miss wine. No Alcohol is a strict rule on Whole30 due to the biological effects of even one glass during the diet
- I miss coffee-mate creamer in my coffee… and ice cream, fresh bread and the feeling of fullness/ satisfaction I get from carbs, chewing gum and eating gummy bears in the car.
Conclusion- Our Pros and Cons of the Whole30 Diet
My list is so much longer than Dave’s! Not surprising though, as even before the diet, he generally ate for fuel and not for the benefit of dining. I love the experience of good food and wine. It’s one of the great joys of living! Also, I was more of a sugar and alcohol addict than my husband. It makes sense that I experienced more withdrawal symptoms.
A strange side effect from the Whole30 Diet on days five-seven – I got up about three times in the middle of the night to pee! I read this is the result of the body releasing fluid it has been holding onto as it now believes it will have sufficient water.
Neither of us experienced the following benefits we read about online.
- Better sleep.
- Reduced number and intensity of migraines.
- Reduced chronic pain.
- Decreased inflammation.
- Glowing skin and shiny hair.
Who knows? Maybe these benefits will come in future weeks. We are powering through and are believers that these 30 days will kick our excess carb/sugar/alcohol habits and teach us to make better food choices.
Whole30 Foods We Love
I never imagined I could enjoy an apple with a tablespoon of almond butter so much! Or dried apricots and pistachios. Dave loves dried cranberries.
The following are foods that got us through week 1 of the Whole30 Diet. Many of these foods I’ve rarely consumed before!
- Trader Joe’s basil and cashew pesto
- Kombucha – Synergy Guava Goddess I love!
- Dried apricots and cranberries
- Pistachios and Marcona almonds
- Coconut milk (in place of creamer for coffee)
- Zucchini Zoodles, cherry tomatoes, snap peas
- Eggs, canned tuna
- Almond butter
- Rao’s Marinara
- La Croix flavored seltzer water
- Coconut water – I love the sweetness of Harmless Harvest
- Green tea
Whole30 Approved Recipes on My Blog
- Restaurant Grade Caesar Salad Dressing (omit the cheese and use Whole30 approved mayo)
- Bone Broth Soup (no dumplings and noodles)
- The Tastiest Salad I’ve Made in Years (omit chickpeas)
- Ginger and Cilantro Shrimp Salad in Avocado Halves (use Whole30 mayo)
- Restaurant Grade Kale Salad (exclude parmesan and quinoa)
As I write this, I’m proud we’ve stayed on track. Are you impressed I didn’t have even one alcoholic beverage?
I’m hoping in week 2, I can get back to normal energy levels to want to work out, and my alcohol cravings go away.
We look forward to seeing our results (although from a weight loss perspective, we don’t feel anything yet)! It will be interesting to get our body chemistries to baseline levels to see how the foods affect us once added back. Oh, and we each want to lose about 10lbs!
Does this post about the pros and cons of the Whole30 Diet make you want to try it? Leave a comment!